WHILE abseiling more than 80ft at the County Ground would be scary enough for most people, these brave fundraisers took to the ropes without even being able to see where they were going.

Visually impaired, blindfolded and sighted fundraisers abseiled 83ft down the Don Rogers stand on Sunday to raise funds for Swindon Guide Dogs.

About 20 people took part in the event, which was part of Walk My Way Week, an awareness event aimed at highlighting the challenges facing blind and partially-sighted people.

Chairman of Swindon Guide Dogs Alan Fletcher, who also took part in the challenge, said: “Everybody was cheering each other on. It was quite exhilarating taking part. Once you step off the top you think there’s nothing underneath.”

Alan, who has a guide dog called Joy, is completely blind in one eye and can see shadows in the other. Guide dog users Dianna Mansfield and Glynn Evans also took on the challenge.

The fundraisers raised £3,000, which will be used to support the 20 guide dogs in the town.

It costs £5 a day to support each guide dog. The money will pay for food and vets’ bills, and will also help to train future guide dogs.

Alan retired in 2005 after his sight deteriorated.

“Joy has made a big difference for me,” he said. “I thought if I could do something for somebody else to have a guide dog then that is just brilliant.”

Members of the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix also took part, as well as TV vet Joe Inglis and staff from Vet’s Klinic in Bridgemead.

“Joe said he was scared of heights but he went up and did it. He said he enjoyed it. A couple of fundraisers did it blindfolded. Sean Ford, from Swindon Council’s hearing and vision team took part in a dog suit,” said Alan.

“Thank you to everybody who did the abseil and made it a great day. Thanks to Swindon Town Football Club too, especially staging manager Mark Isaacs.”

Swindon Guide Dogs also raised £778 on Saturday with a colection in the town centre.

A total of 15 runners will be taking part in the Swindon Half Marathon to raise funds for Swindon Guide Dogs this weekend.